NHL COVID Pause: League Starts Christmas Break Early To Battle Outbreaks

Written By Stephen Andress on December 20, 2021
nhl covid pause

The National Hockey League has decided to start its Christmas break earlier than scheduled, the latest NHL COVID pause to hit hockey during the pandemic.

The league announced Monday evening this NHL COVID pause will begin after the final three games on the schedule Tuesday.

Team facilities will be closed from Dec. 22 through Dec. 25 as the league tries to weather several COVID-19 outbreaks. Players are scheduled to report back to team facilities on Dec. 26 and resume daily testing.

The NHL schedule is supposed to resume on Dec. 27.

Among NHL odds, these are the remaining three games left on the schedule, for what hockey fans hope is just a five day stoppage in the middle of the 2021-22 season.

Washington Capitals at Philadelphia Flyers

Tampa Bay Lightning at Las Vegas Golden Knights

Dallas Stars at Minnesota Wild

Outbreak Details That Led To NHL COVID pause

11 teams suspended operations this week, and the NHL postponed all games through Christmas that involved crossing the U.S. – Canada border. More than 15% of the league’s players were in virus protocols as of Monday night, in a league where only one player is not vaccinated.

For perspective, the NFL still had less than 10% of players on its COVID lists in its worst week of positive tests on record.

The NHL has brought back daily testing, social distancing measures and restrictions on where players can go when they are not at home, hotels or team facilities. Booster shots have not been mandated by the NHL and players’ union.

What about the Winter Olympics?

A total of 49 games have been postponed this season. According to ESPN, the NHL views that as “material damage to the schedule”, which allows the league to exercise its opt-out clause for player participation in the Beijing winter Olympics.

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Stephen Andress

Stephen Andress joined Catena Media as Managing Editor of TheLines.com in March 2021. He began his career as a sports anchor and reporter in Eugene, OR before moving to Louisville, KY. There he covered the Kentucky Derby, Sugar Bowl and three consecutive Final Fours. Stephen later won an Emmy award while working for the Indianapolis Colts. More recently, he produced content for the PGA TOUR and multiple fantasy football and sports betting websites. Nothing has excited him more in his career than seeing legalized sports betting in the United States and the opportunity to share his knowledge and enthusiasm for it. His hobbies include kicking his high school friends' butts in fantasy football, Japanese whisky and Kentucky bourbon, golf outrights and supporting RIP Medical Debt, a charity which works to wipe out medical bills for those who have been unable to cover the cost of getting sick.

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